Kenneth Brill, datacentre pioneer, dies

The man who is credited with playing an enormous role in shaping the modern data centre has died of cancer. Kenneth Brill was 69.

Brill singled-handedly crafted an industry out of nothing, before him and his UpTime Institute, there was no identity or commonality among data centres.

He saw how it was possible to create an industry that could share and use information to improve operations.

UpTime created tier classifications for comparing data centres. These days people are always talking about tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 data centres.

He was also a big fan of data centre energy efficiency. He wanted to see better communication between IT staff and the engineering teams that run data centres, which he believed was the only way to get the most from operations.

Brill’s last major statement was following Amazon’s prolonged outage. He warned that the concentration of computing resources with large cloud providers was putting people who champion internal reliability at a disadvantage.

He thought that cloud providers were facing similar problems to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant – in that it will work fine until a following disaster has enormous consequences.

Brill predicted that there will be more failures than we have been seeing, “because people have forgotten what we had to do to get to where we are.”